Another in the Michi-Gifts series of suggestions to make your holiday merry and bright by thinking outside of the big box shops.
As an alternative to mass-produced merchandise and the mall mentality I am reviving the “buy local” email message that I received last year.
Click here to read Birth of a New Tradition, and be inspired to get creative in your gift-giving this season.
Businesses in beautiful downtown Petoskey kept their doors open late on the first Friday in December for the annual Holiday Open House, and TJ and I were there with our friends Pat and Sue. They moved from the 313 to the Northwest Michigan city about seven years ago, and this is the second time we’ve attended the Christmas season event with them. Small world: We saw five other folks from our hometown enjoying the festivities that evening.
As the Petoskey High School Steel Drum Band played Christmas tunes for an appreciative crowd we strolled the closed-off streets, filled with revelers, and popped into several of the shops to sip complimentary wine and munch on cheese and crackers—I managed to resist the Christmas cookies. At Northern Sole, a quality, independent shoe store, we met Tigger Calhoun, who owns the business with his wife Talenna. The footwear was nice but it was the Petoskey stone mushrooms that caught my eye.
The Petoskey stone is fossilized coral that is found on the beaches in the area, and it is Michigan’s official state stone. Most of the Petoskey stones found today can’t compare to the size of those for sale at Northern Sole. Tigger’s grandfather collected them years ago and finding specimens that size today is almost impossible. Tigger’s grandfather and an uncle polish and craft them into the decorative pieces.
As I was ooohing and aaahing over the mushrooms Tigger pulled out a monster, polished Petoskey stone the size of a bowling ball, also found by his grandfather. Incredible. It’s not for sale, but you can buy a sizeable plain, polished Petoskey stone for $10 or one of the mushroom pieces at a range of prices up to about $100.
Northern Sole is located at 324 E. Lake Street; phone 231.753.2005